Undekhi 2 is high-voltage, electric thriller

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Surya Sharma and Harsh Chhaya portray the amoral protagonists in Undekhi 2. Photo: Trailer Video Grab

Almost all through the 10 episodes of this season, Undekhi 2 is arresting, in fact, electrifying. It tempted me to a binge-watch, with its correctly-placed thrills and sudden twists. The background music and scenic locales, though there was an overdose of picture-perfect aerial shots of the stunning Manali and vicinity, only added to the atmosphere.

The script, but for the now omnipresent-on-web overdose of expletives, was in full testosterone mode, charged with pace and whatever is needed for a crackerjack story revolving around a family steeped in crime and illegal activities. The take-off from Season 1 is perfectly smooth, and the big blackguard Rinku Atwal (Surya Sharma) gets a dominant role here, even as his on-off face-to-face with sister-in-law Teji (Anchal Singh) does not really cross the border to thrill. Papaji (Harsh Chhaya), the eternally amoral patriarch of the clan, is now openly partial to nephew Rinku over his own son, Daman (Ankur Rathee).

Suddenly, almost no character is white, as everyone develops prominent shades of gray. Daman gets into the family’s drug game, as his father partners with Samarth (Nandish Singh Sandhu) in their enterprise. Teji shows a surprisingly ruthless side of her persona to her photographer friends Saloni (Ayn Roza), correctly bitchy, and her fiercely-protective colleague, Shashwat (Sayandeep Sengupta), but both are caught in their greed for lucre more than revenge for their murdered colleagues.

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Bengal-based top cop DCP Ghosh (Dibyendu Bhattacharya) returns to Manali with his own agenda when Koyal (Apeksha Porwal), who is bent on vendetta against the Atwal family for killing her sister, resurfaces after being thought dead. She has been nursed back to health by a reformed criminal, Abhaya (Meiyang Chang), who decides to help her, conditionally, in her mission.

There is Rinku’s lover and later wife, Muskaan (Shivangi Singh), shrewd enough to leave her father for him, and her silent lover, Timma (Vaarun Bagat), who himself becomes a turncoat when things begin to go wrong.

A negative in the script is the overdose of coincidences that need not have happened—Abhaya’s past being connected with Samarth being one. There are some more, and though nothing is allowed to come in the way of the rapid momentum in the story, one can’t help wonder why they could not have been avoided for better alternatives.

Last, but not least, is the climax. Teji’s demeanor and Daman’s change of heart marks a tangy and welcome shift in their characters, but there is an avoidable death that leaves the normal audience ungratified. Also, while the greed for Season 2 could be understood, the cliffhanger (and a tepid one at that with, as said above, a needless death) here seems to be forced in just for Season 3.

That said, however, Undekhi 2 is a fulminating cauldron of human greed, lust for power, arrogance and human flaws and weaknesses. It is laced with superlative technical expertise. The camerawork is a dream, even given the picturesque locations (Murzy Pagdiwala) and the editing (Sudhir Achary & Sourabh Prabhudesai) razor-sharp.

Director Ashish R. Shukla is in even greater command here compared to the previous season as he gets to grip with his characters and the plot. The actors excel, and correctly, Surya Sharma and Harsh Chhaya, the main scoundrels, overshadow all others. That all the other main and supporting players are extremely effective and more underscores the degree of excellence of these two actors, and also Dibyendu Bhattacharya as Ghosh and Apeksha Porwal as the firebrand Koyal

Anchal Singh is the best among the rest, her eyes arrestingly expressive in her nuanced portrayal, though in smaller roles, Ayn Roza as Saloni, Sayandeep Sengupta as Shashwat, Shivangi Singh as Muskaan and Vaarun Bhagat as Timma stand out.

Despite the hiccups we mentioned, here is a show where the plus-es overwhelm the negatives. Don’t miss it.

Rating: ****

Sony LIV presents Applause Entertainments’ & Edgestorm Ventures’ Undekhi 2 Created by: Siddharth Sengupta  Produced by: Sameer Nair, Rishi Negi, Siddharth Sengupta & Jyoti Sagar Directed by: Ashish R. Shukla  Written by: Anahata Menon, Siddharth Sengupta, Ameya Sarda, Umesh Padalkar & Deepak Segal Music: Sparsh Verma & Shivam Sengupta  Starring: Dibyendu Bhattacharya, Surya Sharma, Anchal Singh, Harsh Chhaya, Ankur Rathee, Ayn Zoya, Apeksha Porwal, Sayandeep Sengupta, Meenakshi Sethi, Shivaani Sopuri, Shivangi Singh, Breshna Khan, Meiyang Chang, Nandish Singh Sandhu, Tej Sapru, Jamie Alter, Vaarun Bagat, Diwakar Jha, Ajay Bharadwaj, Rishabh Kushwaha & others

 

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